Erin Doman on September 12, 2015 5 Comments Sometimes, drying out a damp basement can be an ongoing battle. In others, it’s a home maintenance battle that might be solvable with just a simple cleanup. Factors like climate, home construction, and local geography can all affect the amount of humidity your basement collects, and this can in turn affect your home’s value. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to dry out your basement, and many of them can be used in combination to get even better results. 1. Install a Dehumidifier In many climates, this is just a great idea for overall home climate control, because basements tend to collect a little more humidity than other areas of the house. If you are prone to a wet basement, though, a dehumidifier becomes a necessity. A solid unit with a capacity capable of handling most average-sized home basements costs less than $200, and sometimes this can be enough to solve dampness on its own, making it a very cost-effective way to protect a basement from moisture damage. Not only can a dehumidifier help dry our your damp basement, but it can help improve your overall health, prevent mold from growing, and a number of other things. 2. Ventilate the Area To air out a wet basement so that you can install climate control equipment like dehumidifiers, you might need to create some makeshift ventilation by running fans and opening doors or garden-level windows. If your furnace has an air circulation option to ventilate the whole house, this can help to air out the basement too, one that can be frequently combined with other options to help keep air in the whole house circulated. You may even want to consider purchasing a portable space heater to help speed up the drying process. 3. Reseal Your Concrete Basement moisture can slowly work its way through your concrete walls if they are untreated, and older concrete is more prone to this. This can even lead to condensation, where beads of moisture form on the surface of walls or floors. This is a huge contributor to mold problems in homes where it goes unchecked, but you can put a stop to condensation by using a concrete paint-and-sealer combo to protect your walls and floor. Sealants come in a variety of strengths and colors, so it is easy to find something that will work for your home. There are often different varieties for walls and for floors, too, so you will want to read the instructions carefully before applying anything. 4. Attend to Air Leaks In many homes, the point where the foundation meets the flooring can be an access point for moisture. Seals around basement windows, vents cut through the siding for your dryer’s exhaust, and other small entry points for moisture can allow a lot of water in, especially during rainstorms. If you have leaky windows or vents, a silicone sealer or foam weather stripping can help plug the leaks. You will still need to ventilate to dry everything back out, though. It might also be a good idea to buy a dehumidifier to help keep things on an even keel afterward. 5. See to Downspouts and Grading Issues Outside If moisture is collecting around the outside of your foundation, it is often impossible to keep things from getting a little damp inside, and even sealants can be defeated over time if there is enough moisture collected outside the house. Making sure that your downspouts are at least four feet from the house is one way to make sure that water runs away from your foundation, reducing the amount of moisture that can collect inside. Another way is to inspect the grading around your home for areas where it runs downhill toward the house, and regrading any problem areas you find. 6. Inspect Driveways and Other Outdoor Construction Features Just like your grading, your driveways, patios, and flower gardens can also become outdoor moisture traps that keep your attempts to dry out your basement from being successful. Using a cold patch to take care of cracks, holes, or other problems will help keep water running away from your home instead of encouraging pooling and collection, and maintaining extra features of the property like decks and flower gardens to ensure that they have proper drainage during inclement weather is also important. 7. Air Out Wet Items Elsewhere It doesn’t matter if we are talking about suitcases that are soaked after your cellar floods or wet swimsuits after a day at the beach, leaving wet items to sit in your basement contributes to the moisture issues you are already having. It can make it harder for your dehumidifier to catch up, and it also provides an opportunity for mold and mildew to form wherever the wet items are left. The best way to air out wet belongings is above-ground, where ventilation is easier. If outdoors isn’t an option, consider using a garage or a main-floor bathroom with a ventilation fan. 8. Check Your Vents, Including Your Dryer Vent If your home has a humidifier for the main living space, then cracks in your vents and loose ducts can provide moisture traps, and they need to be seen to if you want to prevent common issues from developing. Even if that is not the case, your dryer’s vent carries warm, moist air regularly, so you will want to inspect its entire length for cracks, holes, and other sources of water. Depending on the severity of your basement humidity problem, you might need to use several of the items on this list to fully resolve your basement moisture concerns. Very rarely, it might even take every step to bring things back around to a comfortable level. This usually happens when you are restoring an old home that has gone without maintenance for some time. As you work, remember to take care of related concerns like cracks in the foundation as you go. This will help your moisture abatement, and it will also protect the value of your home in other ways. Dampness, condensation, and other moisture issues are not just a matter of comfort or cleanliness. Nor are they simply about protecting your home’s value. They are also potential health concerns, so keeping your basement clean and dry is an especially important part of your overall home life. If you have been battling with a damp basement for some time, you might need to engage in some serious home maintenance to solve the problem, but it will be well worth it in the long run.